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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  December 5, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm EST

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we sought after the speech of nicolas sarkozy and angela merkel monday that there euro -- weakened and that is one reason why we see triple digit wins at the opening and here in the monday session on wall street. >> up next a conversation on federal spectrum policy with dale hatfield of the commerce department. that's on "the communicators." >> no health care the most single element, no environmental control or pollution controls and nowhere tyre meant and you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a
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job sound goings out. ross perot spoke out about trade issues in the 1992 presidential debate. this week on "the communicators," a discussion about choices facing congress, broadcasters and the president on rod caste spectrum. >> host: well this week on "the communicators" we are pleased to introduce you to dale hatfield. he is a member of the commerce department spectrum management advisory committee.
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he is also a professor at the university of colorado and he is considered to be one of the nation's foremost experts on spectrum and spectrum policy. he joins us this week on "the communicators." professor hatfield, if we could, a lot of talk here in washington about spectrum shortage. when you hear that term, what does it mean to you and is there a spectrum shortage? >> guest: that's a really good and very fundamental question. the spectrum, the radio spectrum is the part that we are most interested in, is already allocated and mostly assigned so if i have a new use, maybe a use that has a lot of public interest, it may be very difficult for me to get access to spectrum. on the other hand, if i put a simple receiver out here on the roof of this building and actually look at the spectrum, it would turn out that a lot of
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the spectrum, this resource, is not being used all the time nor in all the places so in one sense it's all given out but that doesn't mean on a more instantaneous basis there is not spectrum available that could be used. >> host: well that said, how should spectrum policy reflect the availability of spectrum at this point in your view? >> well there is a lot of, a lot of dimensions to it. one of course, we need to use the spectrum or efficiently just as we talk in energy terms of using gasoline more efficiently and making our cars more efficient we need to be more efficient in our use of the resource. we need to have our transmitters and our receivers and our systems more efficient and aligned with that we need to have the incentives for that to occur as well because things
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don't happen without the right incentives. so we need to be more efficient in our use of the resource and then that ties to what i said a moment ago about the fact that a lot of spectrum is not really used a lot of the time even though it's order belongs to somebody or is assigned to somebody. there are new technologies out there we can talk about that can help that but here again there's a regular tory process we have to get through to be able to you spectrum in a more dynamic less static fashion. >> host: we will get to those but i want to talk about how you think he can be more efficiently used and what incentives might be possible. we want to introduce paul kirby, the senior editor with telecommunications reports which includes beard t.r. daily bulletin and he will also be asking you questions. >> guest: deal as peter said you are a member of the commerce
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department's spectrum advisory committee and their new two-year charter, they are called to look at how to help the government to free up 500 megahertz of spectrum over the knicks 10 years which is a goal of the obama administration of the fcc. give us a sense of what you hope they can accomplish in the next two years in advising the commerce department? >> guest: well, there are a think two parts to that. one is to advise them on what bands would be the most useful for commercial purposes. that is one thing, so we can keep this economic engine that is being provided by the use of spectrum with all these new devices, keep that moving, so we want to help them in that regard. and then help them in terms of what i just said a moment ago and that is to try to get the incentives right to provide mechanisms so the suggestions,
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the ways of ameliorating for reducing interference issues so our critical national defense and our critical governmental needs for spectrum can go forward and still meet as i said, our need for this vast amount of new spectrum to support commercial applications and public safety too. >> guest: we talked about getting incentives right. one thing in the past you have said could work and in fact they have looked at in the past is spectrum fees for licensees to provide incentives to use the spectrum more efficiently. give us a sense of why you think that could work. >> guest: well, it works on both sides, both the commercial side use of spectrum and governmental. one of the problems we have an spectrum is a lot of people have the spectrum and they don't -- they have not had to pay for it,
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don't pay for it and it's like anything else to get for free, there's not as much incentive for you to free up the spectrum and maybe make it available to others. so there are different forms of incentives but economic incentives of course is what drives a lot of our free enterprise system, our capitalist system. having people pay for the spectrum they consume, gets more and more valuable. it seems like something we should be looking at and i myself am generally favorable to having government agencies that as i indicated are more sensitive to using it is sensual -- efficiently. if you are paying something you will be more efficient. if i gave gasoline away i wouldn't care where he drove and i wouldn't care what size car i drove but if i'm paying for their dazzling than i am more careful choosing where to go and
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what vehicle i might buy. it's the same sort of notion, making people sensitive to the value of their resources they are consuming. >> host: deal with talked about figure out a way so federal government agencies can you spectrum more efficiently. one of the things they have looked at is an office of management and budget circular to try to incentivize those agencies do you spectrum more efficiently by basically when they have planned plan new systems looking at what the cost of the system would be. can you give us a sense of what that's about and why that might be affected? >> guest: yes. as you suggest, the omb of course does have the power to look at systems and recommend or not recommend their approval based upon the budgetary impact. traditionally that vegetarian pact though has just been the cost of the building and operating the equipment and has not taken into account is blessedly the value of the
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spectrum that may be used in providing, meeting the mission of that equipment. basically design engineer sitting down and doing a design. is focused on making it perform to meet certain specifications and they not be as conscious as they should be of the value of this resource, the value of the spectrum that is perhaps they should be so the idea is for them to do some calculations to show what the value of the spectrum they are going to use and then to make some trade-offs. in other words is it really worth this extra little bit of performance if it's going to cost an awful lot in terms of the amount of spectrum consumed, spectrum that could be used in some other high-value application as well. >> host: professor hatfield is that feasible? is that something that could happen for the agencies that are charged essentially for their
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spectrum use? >> guest: yes, i believe so. the united kingdom has had some experience on that. there are some issues of course but i believe either explicitly taking into account the value of the spectrum, in other words by charging a fee, or by having a process that the design people have to go through that takes implicit account of the value of the spectrum i believe both of those are indeed feasible. >> host: so, how much of the spectrum does the federal government currently control for its own use? guest so well, that number is hard to get and i'm not sure sitting here i can give you the right number but let me tell you the difficulties. a lot of the spectrum is already shared. there is a little bit of difficulty counting there and then the government tends to use an awful lot of spectrum that is very high in frequency for things like radar and satellite communications and stuff like
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that. the spectrum that is most useful or potentially the most useful for a lot of commercial purposes is lower in frequency so i can't quote you sitting here the exact or centage but the significant amount if you include the higher, include the higher frequencies as well. >> host: let's talk about other spectrum that has gotten a lot of attention, spectrum used by tv broadcasters. the fcc wants to voluntarily reallocate 120 megahertz of spectrum. that would be part of the 500 megahertz they want to free up for wireless broadband. from a technical standpoint how difficult will that the? there are a lot of questions still to be answered. how do you repack channels to free up spectrum and have a large enough block that wireless carriers want a need. give us a sense of how you see that working out. >> guest: well the problem is bad, part of the problem is as i indicated earlier, spectrum is
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not used uniformly. spectrum tends to be of course used the most valuable in urban areas so in the case of television is in the northeast corridor where people are packed closely together and television stations have to be packed together. freeing enough spectrum in those areas, those critical areas where reallocation, that is where it's really really tough. the technical analysis are analyses are very challenging and my own sense, and i have not done the detailed engineering studies myself but i don't sense that it's going to be a challenge to come up with significant amounts of spectrum in the urban areas where it's needed the most for the cellular phone type applications, where it can be very useful i think is in rural, more rural areas of the country where we can free up
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with a new technology and repacking, we can free up some fairly significant amounts there. the question there is whether you can get the manufactures that market turns out to be attractive enough to make that attractive spectrum for use in rural areas where it's difficult to get fiber in and so forth. >> host: dale hatfield, going back to the urban issue, are we almost to the crisis point when it comes to spectrum availability in the urban areas much like traffic is at a standstill in many urban areas. >> guest: there sure are some challenges. i am a little cautious as to the choice of words, but clearly in major urban areas, a rapid growth of devices like like ipads and so forth that use a lot of especially video, your
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voice conversation of course doesn't use much of the resource but we start talking about doing a lot of video and that sort of activity, it really increases the bandwidth and the more these devices come on line, we do see them all the time, that really puts upward pressure in the urban areas. the studies that i have done suggest that while there are certain efficiency measurements that we can get in terms of getting more video through a given slice of spectrum, that's not going to be the long-term answer. what we have to do is you spectrum more intensely in the geographic sense. what i mean by that is when cellular started out at used great egg cells so one conversation sort of occupied a large area but as the market has grown, the areas that continue to shrink to size of those cells down smaller so they can use the same spectrum over and over
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again and the same market, so what i see happening to happen here in the short to medium term is we are going to have to you spectrum more efficiently by going to smaller and smaller cells. these are called -- cells in devices like that the result including wi-fi wifi that are only used by a small amount of spectrum. they and you spectrum over small geographic area so that we can pack in more people. i think that is the long-term solution there. it doesn't solve problems for all types of systems however, but that seems to me going forward a major area that we are going to have to focus on. >> host: you are watching "the communicators," c-span's we can look at telecommunications and telecommunications policy. our guest, dale hatfield is joining us from denver. he's a professor at the university of colorado and he is also a member of the commerce
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department spectrum management advisory committee. he is also the former engineering and technology chief at the federal communications commission. he has about 50 years of experience in telecommunications, policies particularly spectrum issues and he is considered one of the leading experts on spectrum in the nation. paul kirby of telecommunications reports is our guest reporter. >> guest: one of the things you may have referenced earlier i think was dynamic spectrum access technology. that's technology that started with the defense department as they tried to make basically reuse the spectrum and improve its efficiency i believe i-10 times. give us a sense of what this would do and how this could help going forward. >> guest: well i believe it could help enormously because as i indicated, if i did sort of a
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conceptual experiment and went to the rest of this building in the denver area right now and had a really good receiver that would pick up signals on a large swath of spectrum, it would turn out that there are large amounts of spectrum here as i said that are not being used. while at the same time there are people who may need spectrum so the idea is when spectrum is temporarily not being used by somebody, somebody else could use it. would call that dynamic spectrum assignment so rather than making an assignment that is you know, that runs for years but is only used a few minutes a day, it would mean perhaps only a few hours a day, that means somebody else when that person is not using it and they are not on the air somebody else could use it. if we did back then we could raise the average use for maybe 5% or something like that of significantly higher so that everybody has more opportunity
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to use the resource. but that requires than arrangements for the spectrum to be shared and that is the rub. people who have spectrum, it may not be used very heavily or often reluctant to allow their spectrum to be shared by somebody else on a short-term basis for a number of reasons. >> guest: that is the route. the fcc has put out an item looking at dynamic spectrum access. years ago as you are aware, the fcc looked at something called interference temperatures and basically it, the idea would be, it would allow folks to you spectrum that wasn't used perhaps below -- that didn't go anywhere. as you said politically it's difficult and from it business standpoint incumbents don't like anything brought about by for sharing if you will. technologist if you look at dynamic spectrum access, how realistic is it for that to be implemented do you think?
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>> guest: it comes down again to, incentive and as spectrum grows more valuable if i am holding spectrum and not using it all the time hopefully the marketplace would work. somebody would come and say dale, i see that you are using your spectrum heavily during the week but not so much on weekends and i want to do some electronic newsgathering in boulder for example on the weekends ago i making this up entirely. i would like to lease some spectrum for new and used it on a dynamic basis. so that would provide economic incentives for me to do that and it could be even on a shorter term basis. but there are costs at trying to make those, they can those arrangements and more fundamentally, spectrum is a resource that has some troublesome characteristics the way we manage it now. for example if i agreed to allow somebody to use my spectrum and
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what they use it for turns out to be wildly successful, then the person who is leasing it may go to the fcc and say look this is obviously a much better use of the spectrum than what dale is doing so reallocate the spectrum to us. by economist oriented friends would say, what's happening here is their right to look like property rights or not, they are not very strong so it may mean that i have to give up spectrum if i allow somebody to share it. these are the sort of make it up incentives or sharing that we need to overcome. we need to provide more positive incentives so people using your word paul, voluntarily enter into sharing agreements. >> guest: there something we haven't talked about that is near and dear to your heart and you bring up about anytime you talk and that is called receiver standards. right now the fcc will regulate transmitters but they are not
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detailed standards on receivers. that issue has come up recently where you had gps receivers in your lightsquared and adjacent spectrum. can you give us a sense of why you think receiver standards make sense in light of lightsquared, tv white spaces where again receivers there was a lot of focus on the receivers. >> guest: let me say initially there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that over time we have to tighten up on receivers. now having said that, let me back up a little bit and give you a little bit of background. most people that they have a receiver in their house and they get some interference from some other source, they assume that it's the source, that other station or something that they hear that is causing the interference but that other station, that other person, that other device, they would be operating completely legally in
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its band but what happens because of the receiver that i have is receiving outside the band that i am designed or i'm supposed to be using, i receive interference. so one of the hardest things i have had over the years is getting people, especially non-technical people, to understand that transmitters, you have to have transmitters that don't squander spectrum. equally you have to have receivers that are not so wide, they don't pick up so much extraneous stuff that you inhibit the ability of people on either side, channels on either side from using that spectrum. in other words, the receiver is poor. it's not selective enough and therefore ends up preventing us from using very valuable spectrum. and as a nation we can't continue in my mind without doing something and continue our growth based upon this electronic revolution here unless we do something about the
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receiver, the poor receivers that may get out there in large numbers and as i said or clued us from using spectrum more efficiently. >> host: professor hatfield is the technology available to make the receivers more efficient? >> guest: oh certainly. again i don't mean to make light of this. there across trade-off issues. in other words the tighter he make a receiver, the less susceptible it is to interference, there is a cost impact but a lot of the studies that i've seen going back 30 or 40 years, in some cases the additional cost to the devices so small it could be de minimus and therefore there could be huge benefits in better receivers at a low price. let me say in defense of like consumer manufacturers of consumer devices, therein sometimes an extremely competitive environment and it
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only cost a dime or in a 100-dollar product. in some cases that dime, they have to be careful. that's a reason i think you need government action so everybody is under some pressure to design their receivers to take into account the value of the spectrum, and you can have people that ignore it and can put out low-quality receivers that get out to such large numbers that we are effectively precluded from using the adjacent bandwidth. >> host: one of the issues with lightsquared and we just spoke with sans jay, the chairman and ceo of flights aired a few weeks ago here on "the communicators," is the interference issue. what is your opinion of the lightsquared model? >> guest: well, here again i have not been, had not been intimately involved in that and that is an area of such high intense political debate right now that i'm a little hesitant
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to go too far in reaching conclusions regarding their specific proposals and their specific technology. at my believe is it really does illustrate the importance of getting the receivers designed properly and not allowing them to proliferate. and having long years of experience, i feel that the problems can be solved through the improvements in technology either by retrofitting existing devices or in improvements in devices as a turnover naturally in the marketplace. >> guest: as a technologist is it frustrating to you when you have proceedings like a tv white spaces in the lightsquared proceeding where you have those sides as engineers. like when this is in a trial where you have someone say this and we have a guy this is this and then they justified or they can't decide. the key issue is what is harmful interference? is it frustrating when some
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people will kind of take their engineers to make their case, their political cases if you will. does that give the engineer profession a bad name do you think? >> guest: well certainly the whole thing is troublesome. what others me particularly is where issues get into it political debate before the engineers have had a chance to try to sit down and fully work out the technical, the technical issues. because once it reaches that, because almost all the services we are talking about and not specifically been lightsquared at a lot of these, people make very big claims. by receive interference is going to harm my ability to do something that's in the public interest. once your debate is going on at that level, that sort of thing that my service is so critical it can't be interfered with at all, we are beyond what the
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engineers can do. the engineers can contribute so much. if you keep as much out of the political environment for as long as possible and let them figure things out because often you get engineers in a room together, the engine herbal will save gee if you just tweak this over here a little bit i will tweak this over here little bit and we can solve this problem but once it gets into the political domain with so much money money involved and so forth, then it's very difficult to work out some of those types of solutions. >> guest: if you lock the engineers in a room, they would be okay. is just when they get out and the attorneys get involved that you get into a bigger problem. i don't want to get you in trouble. >> guest: know, what i'm saying, yeah, thank you paul. you want to try to narrow, i mean congress has an obvious important role in deciding ultimately how much risk we want to take in certain areas, but
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what you want to do it seems is get the engineer to narrow the issues that congress has to address and narrowed them in a way and then get them expressed where the trade-off and so forth is clear. maybe even solving problems before they have to be even escalated there. that is what the engineering ethos, the engineering working together can sometimes do. i'm not argument all that and it's not an important role for congress. some of these issues with major blocks for the spectrum versus something else ultimately it comes down to important decisions that should be in the hands of the congress. on the other hand we ought to try to do everything we can to narrow the issues, to work out things so it does not have to escalate into where we get these terrible terrible battles going on between different stakeholder groups. >> host: dale hatfield, should net neutrality sidelines apply
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to the wireless industry is heavily as has been thought to apply to the wireline industry? >> guest: net neutrality, i was thinking here, thinking a of specter man net neutrality is an interesting issue. the argument, the argument that the wireless carriers have, the wireless providers have is that people who don't use their channels wisely, people who have applications for example that consume an awful lot of land with, that takes bandwidth. if we are sitting in his room and there is a wifi access point and i started doing a lot of video on going to slow down the performance that you received and the performance he received that somebody in the next room over here and so forth. and so, that is much more chu than it is in the wired


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